Qutb-ud-Din ahmad ibn Abdul Rahim, better known as Shah Waliullah, was an Islamic scholar, reformer and founder of modern Islamic thought who attempted to reassess Islamic theology in the light of modern changes. He was the Mujaddid of the 12th Century AH.
The most important of Shah Waliullah’s works is ‘Hujjat Allah al Baligha’, in which he made an attempt to present the teachings of Islam in a spirit of scientific objectivity.
What follows is an extract from the introduction to its Urdu translation which has been rendered into English by Shahid Aziz and is taken from pages 29-31 of the Urdu book.
A Divinely raised scholar or mujaddid is obedient to the Prophet
Some short-sighted people raise this objection regarding Shah sahib (r): “Why did he not conduct a jihad?” The answer to it is this, that:
1. First, this point is not credible that, for a Divinely raised scholar and mujaddid, it is essential to take the sword in hand and engage disbelief and shirk [Footnote: ‘Associating others with God’] or those who are heretics. A Divinely raised scholar or mujaddid is obedient to the Prophet.
The question is: From among the prophets and great personalities how many, not content with the propagation of the true religion, took up the sword for jihad? Is the life of the Holy Prophet himself at Makkah not an example for us? Is it not jihad to raise the pen to eliminate disbelief and shirk and heresy? And is this glorious deed not included in the meaning of jihad that a Divinely raised scholar, by the power of his pen, cuts through all those veils on account of which the shining face of the true religion is hidden from the eyes of the people and shows its true beauty to the public, unveils its truths and high moral teaching and makes known to every section of the nation of Islam their errors and mistakes that they had been making for centuries.
If the answer to this question is not in the negative, and certainly it is not, then I have no hesitation in saying that Hazrat Shah sahib (r) was a great Divinely-raised scholar, a great mujaddid and a great warrior…If, after this, there is still anxiety in someone’s heart as to why Hazrat Shah sahib (r) did not conduct armed jihad then we have no answer for them except silence.
Now as promised, I briefly sketch the achievements of Hazrat Shah sahib’s (r) jihad with the pen….
Comment: Hazrat Shah Walliullah was not unique in conducting his mission in this manner. Only when Muslims faced persecution, for example at the hands of the Sikh rulers of the Punjab, did the Mujaddid of the age, Syed Ahmad Shaheed, conduct armed Jihad.
Sadly, the Sunnis betrayed his hideout for a bribe and he was martyred. Interestingly, he crossed the territory ruled by the British but did not conduct armed Jihad against them because there was no religious persecution. Almost all other Mujaddids conducted their Jihad with the pen.